Category Archives: Ecole des Beaux-Arts

Robert Henri – American Portrait Artist and Teacher

Tan Gam by Robert Henri

Tan Gam by Robert Henri

American artist Robert Henri had a mind of his own. Loyal to a fault and guided by his convictions, Henri was as great a leader as he was an artist. Throughout the course of his notable career, he defied traditional standards of art, pursing and promoting realism.

Robert Henri was born in Ohio and raised in Cozad, Nebraska. At that time this town bared his birth name: his father, John Cozad, founded the town when Robert was eight. Unfortunately, the entire family fled this area after an altercation resulted in John murdering a local rancher. Eventually they ended up – under the guise of alias names – on the east coast.

When the drama of childhood waned, Robert Henri completed his first painting. He was 18 years old. Enjoying the activity and appeased by his natural skill, Robert planned to attend Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1886. There, he came to appreciate the work of Thomas Eakins and the artist’s approach to realism. Henri continued to pursue his education by traveling to Paris where he attending Ecole des Beaux Arts. After his time there, he traveled Europe briefly before returning to Philadelphia where he began his career in art education.

Early in his career it became apparent that Henri was a born leader and a natural teacher too. It is said he inspired students by saying their art could be “a social force that creates a stir in the world”. Within a few years Henri was inspiring more than his students; he developed a following of aspiring artists as well.

During this time, Robert Henri was moving away from the impressionism that influenced his early work. He began moving towards realism, and encouraging other artists to do the same. This ignited a movement that urged American painters to pursue art with fresh perspective, making it okay for artists to express the world as they see it – not the idealized vision society wants see. The movement came to be known as the Ashcan School.

In 1898, Henri accepted a teaching position at the New York School of Art. Around this time, students, colleagues, and critics observed the passion he had for his craft. He was uninhibited by societal norms and blazed a trail for artists to express the realities of life.

Henri was admired and followed by many. In fact, he was elected to the National Academy of Design (a museum and school established to promote fine arts) for recognition of his artwork. Unfortunately, when the National Academy did not display the work of his colleagues at a show in 1907, Henri became disenchanted with the mainstream art world. He knew a bold move would be required to emphasize the importance of realism.

As a result, he set up an exhibition called “The Eight”. All featured work signified a break from traditional art perspectives of the time. In February 1908, five American artists put paintings on display at the Macbeth Gallery. Only once did they come together for this purpose; regardless, it left a lasting impression. It also propelled Henri to continue leading and promoting independent artists.

Robert Henri organized a number of art shows and exhibitions between 1910 and 1920. They included “Exhibition of Independent Artists”, jury-free exhibitions at the MacDowell Club, and the Armory Show. In addition, he continued his career as a teacher at the Art Students League between 1915 and 1927.

While Henri was a skilled artist, his natural gift as an influential teacher solidified his fame. He was effortlessly able to lead and organize people to pursue their passions. All the while, he prompted them to believe that art was a personal expression of a real world. In the book, The Art Spirit, one of Henri’s students compiled his works of art and detailed accounts of his thoughts on the subject.

When Robert Henri passed away in 1929, his influence lived on. In fact, it served as a bridge to usher in European modernism. More so, it inspired artists to reach levels of self-expression that had never been seen before. As an effect, realism came to life through the power of art.

The San Diego Museum of Art will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri  from March 29, 2014 through September 09, 2014. Spanish Sojourns Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain consists of over 40 major paintings borrowed from important museum and private collections around the country. More information can be found at:  http://www.sdmart.org/.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Robert Henri’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=RHR. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 44 digital Robert Henri patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 44 Robert Henri Patterns Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Sources:

National Gallery of Art

Robert Henri Museum

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

William Glackens – American Realist Painter

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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Jean-François Millet – The Peasant Painter

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Jean Francois Millet was born on October 4, 1814, to Jean-Louis-Nicolas and Aimée-Henriette-Adélaïde Henry Millet. Jean Francois began his life in a quiet French village called Gruchy (located in Gréville-Hague, or Normandy). It’s doubtful that the members of the small village had any idea that Millet would mature to become a notable, if not revered painter.

Two village priests saw to Millet’s education, and under their guidance the young Jean Francois became familiar with modern authors and Latin. In 1833 he was sent to study at Cherbourg with Paul Dumouchel, a portrait painter. In just two short years Millet was studying with Lucien-Théophile Langlois, who was a pupil of Baron Gros. The time spent in Cherbourg afforded Jean Francois much opportunity to glean artistic guidance from his mentors.

www.segmation.comIn 1837 Jean Francois Millet moved to Paris. This was made possible in part by the stipend he was receiving from Langlois. While in Paris, Millet studied with Paul Delaroche at the École des Beaux-Arts. Jean Francois did not realize the artistic success he sought at the École des Beaux-Arts. His scholarship was removed in 1839. Millet’s artwork was also rejected by the Salon (the École des Beaux-Arts’ art exhibition) that year. The young artist’s lack of success was short-lived, and in 1840 the Salon accepted one of his portraits.

Millet moved back to Cherbourg and became a professional portraitist in 1840. The artist married Pauline-Virginie Ono, whom he returned to Paris with, the following year. Tragically, consumption took Pauline’s life in a very short time span. Jean Francois married again in 1853, this time to Catherine Lemaire. He and Lamaire had nine children and stayed married throughout Millet’s life.

After moving to Paris with his wife, Catherine, Millet became friends with artists Charles Jacque, Narcisse Diaz, Constant Troyon, and others. Jean Francois, along with these men, would later associate himself with the Barbizon school.

Jean Francois Millet began to build some artistic notoriety around 1847 when the Salon exhibited his painting titled Oedipus Taken Down from the Tree. His success bled into the following year when the French government purchased Winnower. Also in 1848, the Salon exhibited The Captivity of the Jews in Babylon.www.segmation.com

The Captivity of the Jews in Babylon was met with much criticism, and it was believed for a while that the artist disposed of it himself. It was later discovered that Millet re-used the canvas, covering Captivity with The Young Shepherdess. This probably took place during the Franco-Prussian War.

Millet continued to polish his craft, and in 1849 he painted Harvesters and put Shepherdess Sitting at the Edge of the Forest on exhibition. Shepherdess Sitting marked an artistic milestone for Millet as it was more realistic than his prior “idealized pastoral subjects.”

1850 was a particularly abundant year for Millet. First, Sensier began to trade art materials for drawings and paintings created by Millet, who was also paid for his creations. At the same time, Jean Francois was permitted to sell his works to the public. Also in 1850, Millet displayed The Sower and Haymakers. The Sower is acknowledged as the artist’s “first major masterpiece.”

Jean Francois painted The Gleaners in 1857. This piece is probably Millet’s best-known work, and for good reason. The piece is characterized by a warm golden tone and invites viewers into the daily life of a poverty-stricken gleaner. Millet had a true talent for portraying hardships while at the same time highlighting the beauty that lies within pain.

Jean Francois Millet died on January 20, 1875. He left behind an incredible legacy of artistic excellence. It is amazing to consider that Millet was not born to a family of wealth or title, yet he ended his life as a master painter. This makes Jean Francois Millet not only a superb artist, but also a true inspiration. Do you have a favorite artist that has inspired you?

Sources:
http://www.britannica.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-François_Millet

http://www.getty.edu/

Coming soon: Early Cave Art in Spain. You won’t want to miss it!

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